Destination Daintree

Daintree Rainforest Observatory opens

The observatory is nestled at the edge of the Daintree rainforest (supplied)

A new world-class research centre and observatory focusing on the Daintree Rainforest has been opened today.

The Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the Daintree Rainforest Observatory was built with $9.7 million from the Australian Government and that it will build on the work already done by James Cook University’s (JCU) Australian Canopy Crane Research Station.

“Daintree is the perfect location for this facility as it’s the world’s oldest forest and contains around 30 per cent of Australia's frog, marsupial, and reptile species, 65 per cent of Australia's bat and butterfly species and 20 per cent of our bird species,” Mr Entsch said.

This facility will bring together researchers from across Australia and the world to work on truly global issues.

“The knowledge gained at this centre will help the Australian Government, and governments around the world, expand their understanding of our previous rainforests,” Mr Entsch said.

The observatory will include a research station, laboratories, accommodation, conference facilities and an education centre.

It will also feature an elevated rainforest boardwalk and trails to give scientists deep access to the rainforest.

The canopy crane research station will also allow researchers to study the forest at all levels and the facility will generate all its own water and electricity.

Mr Entsch said he is pleased the JCU facility near Cairns is being upgraded to undertake world-leading research.

“JCU is an important part of this community and at the forefront of tropical research.

This facility will help ensure JCU makes an even bigger economic and ecological contribution to our community and to the world,” Mr Entsch said.

Mr Entsch said the Australian Government is committed to research and will invest $11 billion over the next four years in research and research infrastructure in Australian universities.

“This funding is part of the Australian Government’s drive to make sure we have a world-class education system underpinned by world-class research,” he said.

The Daintree: Land before time

In the humid expanse of the Daintree, in Queensland, you can get a taste of how Australia used to be - Murray Lawrence, Australian Geographic, February 2011.

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